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散文佳作108篇 第66期:A Sailor's Christmas Gift 一个水手的圣诞礼物

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A Sailor's Christmas Gift

一个水手的圣诞礼物

William J·Lederer

威廉·J·莱德勒
一个水手的圣诞礼物

Last year at Christmas time my wife,three boys,and I were in France,on our way from Paristo Nice.For five wretched days ererything had gone wrong.Our hotels were“touristtraps”;our rented car broke down;we were all restless and irritable in the crowded car.OnChristmas Eve,when we checked into a dingy hotel in Nice,there was no Christmas spirit inour hearts.

去年,在圣诞节期间,我和我的妻子以及我们的三个孩子,从法国踏上由巴黎到尼斯的旅途。由于接连五天的恶劣天气,旅途上一切很不顺心。我们下榻的旅馆尽是些敲诈勒索旅客的“陷阱”;我们租用的那辆汽车老是发生故障,在拥挤不堪的车子上大家个个显得烦躁不安。圣诞节前夕,我们住进了尼斯的一家旅店,这家旅店又脏又暗,我们打心眼里感觉不到丝毫的节日气氛。

It was raining and cold when we went out to eat.We found a drab littlejoint shoddily decoratedfor the holiday.It smelled greasy.Only five tables in the restaurant were occupied.Therewere two German couples,two French families,and an American sailor,by himself.In thecorner a piano player listlessly played Christmas music.

我们外出就餐时,天正下着小雨,天气寒冷。我们找到了一家死气沉沉的小餐馆。为点缀一下节日的气氛,这家餐馆刚刚做了番粗劣的装潢。一进门就闻到一股刺鼻的油污气味。整个餐厅只有五张桌子有人就餐:两对德国夫妇,两户法国家庭和一名孑然一身的美国水手。在餐厅的一个角落里,有位钢琴师在无精打采地弹奏着圣诞乐曲。

I was too stubborn and too tired and miserable to leave.I looked around and noticed thatthe other customers were eating in stony silence.The only person who seemed happy was theAmerican sailor.While eating,he was writing a letter,and a half-smile lighted his face.

我情绪低落,加之疲惫不堪,执意不愿离开这儿去找别的餐馆了。我环顾四周,见这里的顾客一个个沉默不语,只顾吃着、喝着,唯独那位美国水手看上去兴高采烈。他一边吃着,一边写信,面带微笑,神采奕奕。

Mywife ordered our meal in French.The waiter brought us the wrong thing.I scolded my wifefor being stupid.She began to cry.The boys defended her,

and I felt even worse.

我的妻子给我们叫来了法国式的饭菜,而服务员给我们端来的却是别的东西。我斥责妻子尽干些蠢事,她哭了起来。孩子们一个个都护着他们的妈妈,于是我的情绪变得更加糟糕。

Then,at the table with the French family on our left,the father slapped one of his children forsome minor infraction,and the boy began to cry.On our right,the German wife beganberating her husband.

继而,坐在我们左侧餐桌上的那家法国人父亲因为一点鸡毛蒜皮的小事动手打了他的一个孩子一记耳光,那个小男孩哇哇大哭起来。在我的右边,那个德国妇女不知因何缘故开始喋喋不休地数落、责骂起她的丈夫来。

Allof us were interupted by an unpleasant blast of old air.Through the front door came an oldFrench flower woman.She wore a dripping,tattered overcoat,and shuffled in onwet,rundown shoes.Carrying her basket of flowers,she went from one table to the other."

我们大家都被一阵令人不快、死灰复燃的陈规陋习弄得心烦意乱。这时,从前门进来一个卖花的法国老妪。她浑身湿透,衣衫褴褛,脚穿一双水淋淋的破鞋,手里提着花篮,沿桌叫卖。

Flowers,monsieur?Only one franc."

“买花吗,先生?一束才一个法郎哩。”

No one bought any.

谁也没有答理她。

Wearilyshe sat down at a table between the sailor and us.To the waiter she said,"A bowl ofsuop.I haven't sold aflower all afternoon." To the piano player she said hoarsely,"Can youimagine,Joseph,soup on Christmas Eve?"

她疲惫不堪,在水手和我们之间的那张餐桌旁边坐了下来,对服务员说:"请来碗汤吧。整整一下午,我连一朵花也不曾脱手。"接着,她转向那位钢琴师,用嘶哑的声音问,"在圣诞节前夕喝碗汤,约瑟夫,你能设想这种滋味吗?"

He pointed to his empty"tipping plate".

钢琴师指了指身旁的那只空空如也的"放小费的盘子"。

The young sailor finished his meal and got up to leave.Putting on his coat,he walked over tothe flower woman's table.

那位年轻的海员已用罢晚餐,欠起身来准备离开餐馆。他披上外套,走到卖花老妪的桌前。

"Happy Christmas," he said,smiling and picking out two orsages."How much are they?"

"祝您圣诞快乐!"说着,他笑嘻嘻地从花篮里挑出两束专供妇女佩带在前胸的鲜,"多少钱?"

"Two francs,monsieur.

"两个法郎,先生。"

Pressing one of the small corsages flat,he put it into the letter he had written,then handedthe woman a twentyfranc note."

他把其中的一束花压平,放进一封已经写好的笺里,然后将一张20法郎面额的钞票递给了老妪。

I don't have change,monsieur," she said."I'll get some from the waiter."

"我没有零钱找您,先生。"她说,"我这就向服务员去借。"

"No,ma'am," said the sailor,leaning over and kissing the ancient cheek."This is myChristmas present to you."

"不用了,夫人。"说着,水手俯身吻了吻老太婆那张皱纹褶褶的老脸,"这是我送给您的圣诞礼物。"

Straightening up, he came to our table,holding the other corsage in front of him."Sir," he saidto me,"may I have permission to present these flowers to your beautiful daughter?"In onequick motion he gave my wife the corsage,wished us a Merry Christmas,and departed.

他直起身躯,朝我们的餐桌走来,那另一束鲜花擎在他的胸前。"先生,"他对我说,"我可以将这束花作为礼物送给您漂亮的妻子吗?"说着,他迅速地将那束鲜花塞到我妻子的手中,道了声"圣诞快乐",便转身走出了餐馆。

Everyonehad stopped eating.Everyone had been watching the sailor.Everyone was silent.Afew seconds later,Christmas exploded throughout the restaurant like a bomb.The old flowerwoman jumped up, waving the twenty franc note.Hobbling to the middle of the floor she did amerry jig and shouted to the piano player, "Joseph, my Christmas present! And you shall havehalf, so you can have a feast, too."

人们都放下手中的餐具,个个目不转睛地看着那位水手,整个餐厅悄无声息。几秒钟后,圣诞节日那固有的欢乐激情像枚炸弹似地爆裂开来。卖花老妪腾身站起,挥动着她手中的那张20法郎的钞票。她跌跌绊绊地走到餐厅的中央,欢快地踏起了舞步,冲着钢琴师大声嚷:"约瑟夫,瞧瞧我这份圣诞礼物吧!说什么我也得让你分享其中的一半,让你也能吃上一顿丰盛的圣诞晚餐。"

The piano player began to belt out"Good King Wenceslaus," beating the keys with magic hands,nodding his head in rhythm.

钢琴师急速地弹起了《好国王温西斯劳斯》舞曲,魔术般的指头敲击着琴键,头部和着乐曲的旅律频频点动。

My wife waved her corsage in time to the music.She was radiant and appeared twenty yearsyounger.The tears had left her eyes, and the corners of her mouth turned up in laughter.Shebegan to sing, and our three sons joined her, bellowing the song with uninhibitedenthusiasm.

我的妻子也随着音乐的节奏挥动着那束鲜花。她容光焕发,仿佛一下子年轻了20岁。幸福的泪水夺眶而出,嘴角上绽出青春的笑容。她启动歌喉,放声歌唱,我们的三个孩子随声和了起来。他们纵情高歌,没有一丝半缕的拘谨感。

"Gut! Gut! "shouted the Germans.They jumped on their chairs and began singing the words inGerman. The waiter embraced the flower woman.Waving their arms, they sang inFrench.The Frenchman who had slapped the boy beat rhythm with his fork against abottle.The lad climbed on his lap, singing in a youthful soprano.

"好!好!"德国人高声喝彩。他们跳到椅子上,并用德语唱起这支歌。服务员上前拥抱着卖花的老太太,两人同时挥舞手臂,用法语唱了起来。那个曾打了他的儿子一巴掌的法国男子用餐叉敲击着酒瓶打起了拍子,那男孩爬上他爸爸的膝盖,用童声歌唱起来。

TheGermans ordered wine for everyone.They delivered it themselves, hugging the othercustomers.One of the French families called for champagne-made the rounds, kissing each ofus on both cheeks.The owner of the restaurant started "The First Noel," and we all joined in,half of us crying.

德国人请在场的每个人喝酒。人们自斟自饮,相互拥抱。那家法国人当中的一位要来了香槟---到每张桌上给人敬酒,并吻了每个人的双颊。饭馆老板带头唱起圣诞歌,我们大家都跟着唱,其中有半数人是含着眼泪唱的。

Peoplecrowded in from the street until many customers were standing.The walls shook ashands and feet kept time to the Christmas carols.

人们络绎不绝地从街上向餐馆涌来,其中一些顾客由于没有空位而只好站在那里。人们和着圣诞歌的节奏手舞足蹈,声音震得餐厅的四壁阵阵发颤。

Themiserable evening in a shoddy restaurant ended up being the very best Christmas Eve wehad ever experienced just because of a young sailor who had Christmas spirit in his soul.Hereleased the love and joy that had been smothered within us by anger anddisappointment.He gave us Christmas.

没想到在这家简陋的小餐馆里所度过的那个凄凉的夜晚,结果竟变成我们终生难忘的最最美好的圣诞之夜。这全亏那位灵魂中闪烁着圣诞精神的年轻海员。是他把我们由于愤懑和失望而被压抑在内心深处的爱心和欢乐给引发出来的。他赐给了我们圣诞的欢乐。


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